May 17, 2022

Hunting For Your True Self with Mike Van Pelt


What creates a comeback story? We’ve all heard them; in fact, we gravitate to them. Whether it is a recovery from a deadly disease, an athlete coming back from a severe injury, a story about someone overcoming all the odds to achieve success, we all want to hear the story. We want to learn, be inspired, and root for the underdog. What causes one person to come back from the depths of despair, while another person lives a life of quiet desperation? Why do some people achieve great success after tremendous loss, while others are willing to walk away defeated? 

I’ve wondered about these questions for much of my life. I’ve seen many motivational videos, movies, speeches, and more, but the lingering question for me has always been what was the turning point for that person that changed everything? The answers vary from one person’s story to the next because every situation is different. If comeback stories are so inspirational, why do they seem hard to achieve sometimes? The answer to that question seems to lie in the mystery of what that critical turning point is for each individual. I believe that’s what makes the comeback so special.


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Transcript

Josh
 Good day, fellas. Welcome to uncensored advice for men on today's show. We're going to have a conversation with a life coach. Who's gonna maybe help us fix some s**t that we have maybe clear some stuff out of the basement as a Rocky quote, which you might shared with me before the show. And I'm like, I love Rocky. So let's dive in Mike. Welcome to the show. 


 Mike
 Great man. Thanks for, thanks for being here. Yeah. Who does it love Rocky man? That's that's the, that's why I call it. I call myself the come back coach and I mean, he's the ultimate comeback, right? Rocky Balboa. 


 Josh
 Yeah, come back coach. Alright, so you're a comeback coach. What the heck does that mean? What do you do? 


 Mike
 Yeah. Well, it, that kind of happened by accident because it was my story really, to be honest, we started this podcast called the true man podcast, which really kind of started, it was a men's small group. True man was the name of our men's small group in Spartanburg, South Carolina. That we, so aptly took from the Bible, regarding true Jesus Christ, walk on earth as a true man. We had, we adopted that because we wanted to be more like Jesus Christ on our walk on earth. That's kind of where it came from. I was working with a podcast coach on the podcast and I said, one night, man, I love story. I love comeback stories. I love second chance stories. I love pivots. I love redemption. And he went, man, that's it. And he goes that's so good. I love that term come back. Because it was a part of my story. 


 Mike
 I started calling myself the comeback coach because we all have a story in our life, a pivot point, a turning point, a second chance. If you haven't had that happen in your life well beyond the lookout. 


 Josh
 Cool. All right. So we're going to dive in. I forget who it is. There was a, a rapper. He's a, I don't call it a comeback. I've been here for years. If we look at comeback, what actual a comeback is, why don't you paint that picture of what is a comeback? 


 Mike
 Yeah. To me, there's so many things that come up in our lives, right? I always label it the next it or the it that you've gone through. Comebacks hard to define because they're all different, but a comeback, I came up with the three-step formula for achieving a comeback. I don't know that there is a formula, but really, I define it as you gotta face your problem, head on, you got to take that thing on. We've all had a wounding or hurt that has come up or effected us in our life one way or another at some certain point. You're going to have to face the fact that as we talked about Rocky bell Balboa, so the Rocky story is, Adrian has passed away and Rocky goes to see her brother. I think this was in, I don't even know how many Rocky movies there are anymore, but it was rotten the rocky Balboa movie. 


 Mike
 He goes to see her brother. He basically says, Hey man, and he's rubbing on his stomach. I got some stuff declare out of the basement. What he's saying is I got some stuff going on down there that I haven't dealt with yet. A lot of men that I work with that's where they're at. They've got stuff going on in the basement that they haven't dealt with and you need to face that and you need to do it with the second step, which is faith. Faith is what's really gonna get you there. So if you're not a believer, you're probably not going to want to deal with the challenges issues going on that you need to face. The best way to do that is by trusting in God. That he's, that you're on that journey. That he's going to get you through it because this is about not just what's going on in the basement. 


 Mike
 As I like to say, it's that elevator up to the heart. If you don't deal, what's going on in the basement, you're going to have a heart issues. I don't mean have a heart attack. I mean that your heart's never going to be healed from the challenges that are going on. In Proverbs, it says above all else, guard your heart for it's the wellspring of life. So, and of course, if you're going to have faith and you're going to get your life back on track, you got to formulate a plan or a strategy for your comeback. That's where I come in from a coaching standpoint, I help people kind of clear those problems out and remove stuff out of their way so that we can formulate a plan or a strategy for the fourth step, which is to move forward in your life with a positive mind so that you can, have that life of more that you want to have and really move from. 


 Mike
 I see this so much, a life of regrets to a life of, what am I, how am I, what's my legacy here? How am I going to leave a legacy? What's my legacy to my family. What's my legacy to my wife. What's my legacy here on earth. And that's really deep thinking stuff. I think for a lot of us, we get to a point in our life and that middle half of our life, or damn I did some stuff. Yeah. Deal with it, move on. Let's figure out how we can live a life of like, have a legacy. That, that's kind of some stuff around the comeback. The comeback could be, you lose your job, you go through a divorce, you go through whatever the it is. I mean, the list is a mile long, but the good news is you can have redemption. You can have a second chance. 


 Mike
 You can come back and there's ways, that we can help you work through that so that you can push forward and have a fulfilling and brilliant life. Okay. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Super cool. All right. So wounds past issues, right? Let me just name a few that I've seen after doing a couple hundred interviews here and being a professional dude, myself, who has screwed up a lot of stuff. I say, I'm a professional dude, cause I've done it for 40 years, more than 10,000 hours. I know what it is to be a dude, 


 Mike
 Get your pilot's license. 


 Josh
 Because I've crashed and burned. Man, been Brank, bro, went through the whatever, but here's some wounds of the past that I think guys like me need to work through daddy issues, Issues, right? Like validation from father, just trying to make him proud. Just want to feel accepted and loved mommy issues, man. I wa why can't, I can't meet her expectations. I constantly have to make her happy business issues. Successes, failures, bankruptcies, divorces in relationships, right. Failed expectations. Right. I built a business, lost it, lost a couple of cars, lost a house, like, right. There's wounds of the past been, molested as a kid or this or that. Right. Maybe seen trauma, maybe lost a kid, lost a wife, whatever I have not. Thank God. Right? So we have these things. What happens if we don't learn how to deal with those healthy, what are the symptoms that we might not have dealt with something healthily of the past? 


 Mike
 I think the number one thing that I hear guys talk about is anger. You know, I'm just angry. Some guy cut me off in the highway and for no doggone reason, I got a flip on the bird and chase him down. Just anger is, is one of the top things that I hear guys talk about. I know, unfortunately, and I think that this doesn't get talked enough, talked about enough is that, when we're going through some of those things that our lives guys typically isolate themselves, not as bad news man. Totally. Because when you isolate yourself, you're opening yourself up to move from that bad to worse. Cause you do stupid things. Those are really two of the top things that, I've learned. The other thing from a faith standpoint that I think we have to be aware of is that, there's that false self, true self going on. 


 Mike
 I don't think we probably spend enough time in this. This is something that I've really begun to dive more into that false self is the evil one. That's the one that wants so badly to take over and grab that steering wheel of life and just take you over. He's evil and he's not looking out for you at all. The true self is really who you are. The false self led to that isolation. The false self will lead you towards that anger. When I'm talking and that's what I find when guys are not, when they're not dealing with something, suppressing it, they're taking all that junk and they're just stuffing it down their throat, hoping that they'll never have to deal with it. It's one of the reasons I think why the divorce rate is so doggone high, right? Yeah. I mean, if you can't deal with your stuff personally, how the heck are you going to have an open and good marriage? 


 Mike
 You're not. And, and that's where some of that anger comes out to, and it has to be dealt with. 


 Josh
 Yeah, I think we all, I here's how I deal with it and I'm learning how to do it in a better way. Right. We've got something made me mad, I got hurt, angry, hatred, whatever. I, I eat it and I start shoving it down right into my gut. I know some people are just listening in and some might be watching this, like on YouTube, if we ever publish this on YouTube and we, we take it and we compartmentalize and we shove it down and go, okay, cool. Yep. I can, I can handle that. And I'll deal with this later. I'll deal with it later. It starts to creep up and some guy cuts us off and we like flip out. Have you ever guys, have you ever find yourself? Like just absolutely losing it, you black out. And you're like, what the hell happened? I was screaming at my kids. 


 Josh
 I spanked my dog. I, I cut someone off. I'm getting out of the car with a ha w maybe with a hand gun or a tire iron. I'm like, what the hell just happened? Right. Or someone like does something stupid and you completely lose your s**t. Like guys, if that's you raise your hand, so we eat it, we stuff it down. It starts to leak out every once in a while when someone provokes us. What we do is because we don't want to deal with this the way I have dealt with it. As I I'll overeat all over work, I'll drink too much. I'll smoke too much. I'll do too much of whatever, because I don't want what's coming up. It doesn't feel good. Let's push it down and let's numb it. 


 Mike
 Yup. 


 Josh
 So suppression. You're dealing, you work with dyes to help deal with that because it keeps coming up. Right? What are the symptoms that you're seeing and what does a healthy man look like a true man? 


 Mike
 What is it? What is a true man look like? Well, the first thing I think you have to recognize is that we're always a work in progress we're never done. That's important because men we're fixers. Right. So, okay. I know I have a problem, so I'm going to fix it and oh, and by the way, what's the timetable on that? Oh, well, we'll have this fixed in two months. No, no, that's what you do to your car. That's not what you do, you know? So we're a work in progress. So, biblically circle back to patience and perseverance. I was just having that conversation with somebody, they're the biblical foundations. We all want, I I've commonly said like this fast food, Jesus to come along and just take care of everything. Right. There's no drive-through for any of this. I think the most important thing is to realize that you're a work in progress. 


 Mike
 Yeah. You gotta deal with, again, I was talking about the false self and the true self. You got to understand how that works. You got to understand that every day you get up, it starts over again. That the enemy is coming after he wants to destroy your family. He wants to destroy your work life, your personal life. You need to understand how to battle against that. See, one of the challenges, I think that we've all I went through this, like I grew up a Christian going to church and the back, I'm not saying it's right or wrong. I don't know. The pastor would get up and say, Hey, you're a sinner. Forgive yourself. He hears it. Okay, great. We want to know how to fight. I think that's one of the challenges as men that we've faced is we don't know how to fight and owned by the way, Hollywood doesn't define that. 


 Mike
 If you look for Hollywood to define your masculinity, you're looking in the wrong place or sure. For sure. Okay. So, that's the fiction book of masculinity, I'm exploring how to define masculinity as a true man. And needless to say, it's a challenge. It's almost easier to say here's how we don't define masculinity, which is that, if you're chasing women, if you're chasing money, if you're chasing anything outside of what pleases God, you're probably not living in a very masculine life someday. We will have a true man definition of masculinity in my hunches. It might be fairly lengthy. 


 Josh
 Walsh travels around and ask people who are of different belief systems and such. And he goes, what is a woman? A lot of people have a hard time answering that because, they don't want to offend, they don't want to have flat line and sands. We could ask that question, what is a man? I bet you're going to have a lot of different views and opinions of what is man. Right. 


 Mike
 That's a great idea. Actually, 


 Josh
 It's tough. 


 Mike
 Because I might have to start doing that. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Well that washed it. So take a look at his stuff. He's pretty provocative, but this the same could go with, what is the man? What, what is it? It just because you have male genitalia? Well, some people think that you could just lop those off and do whatever or, or is it what the world says we are? It toxic just to be a guy just because I have a penis I'm bad just because I'm this or that, whatever. So yeah. I mean, so that's super interesting. I'd love to hear your, do the research and, , 


 Mike
 Yeah. Listen, it it's complicated, but it's not like anything, right. I mean, God designed men very intentionally in the same way that he designed women, very intentional, and then you get into so different areas, how, the masculinity from a spiritual perspective, from a physical perspective, mind, body emotion, spiritual. I, I think the list, goes on from there, but, were created differently for different reasons and different purposes. That was by design and very intentional. In fact, we did some work on this, on the podcast while were talking about masculinity and we jumped all the way back, surprise to the book of Genesis right there in the first few chapters in the beginning, you circle back and you can begin to define masculinity from Adam, right off the top on certain ways he acted or reacted, or we dare say didn't pretty act in the garden, David. 


 Mike
 You know that if you circle back to that, you can really begin to find some pretty deep answers on masculinity. Interestingly enough. 


 Josh
 Yeah. What's interesting about the story of Adam and Eve. This is some of this is going to be ton of tongue in cheek and I'm sure I'll get some hate mail from that. Whatever it is, one is Eve ate the apple and you're like, come on, I heard a comedian say this, come on ladies, do you really have to eat everything? That, that's the thing that started it off. And I was like, oh shoot. That was from a comedian, not from me, but the, the more serious side is where was Adam when his family was being attacked. Right. Family was being attacked by the enemy, right? The devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy, attacking the woman, challenge her identity and belief system. And where was Adam? 


 Mike
 Yeah. Th there's two versions of this, right? You get the Sunday school version, the mamby pamby picture on the wall with Adam and Eve in the garden, 


 Josh
 The green felt board that you take the characters and you put them up there. Yeah, yeah. 


 Mike
 That's the really nice version. The reality is, we look at it from a scripture perspective. Adam was commanded to do something very specific before Eve was even created. He stood by and watched Eve without taking any degree of action on it. So, if you want to circle back to passivity and certain topics around that area, why are we sometimes passive as men? I mean, look, look back at that. Yeah, what Adam did was not a ruling in the kingdom, the way he was command and to a rule and changed everything. So, you got those two versions going on of, in the garden, which it fascinates me how sometimes we portray things Biblically. 


 Josh
 Yeah. Passively for me, the reason I go passive, like if I see something going on with a family and I'm like, Hey, I should confront this. I should fix this. I should help. I should step in. Cause I don't want to sleep on the couch. Right. I enjoy intimacy and sex. I enjoy a closeness and relationship. I'm like, oh, is that worth the Redmond? That could be another podcast one day where we, where we uncover that. One, the, one of the things I want to chat with you about is the, you talk about the second chance, the redemption, the come back, right. I recently I have three kids, nine, five, and two at time of recording. We recently went through the dressers and we, the kids are growing, we've taken clothes and we're like this no longer fits them. We have no need of this clothes. 


 Josh
 We put in a bag and I dropped it off at a thrift store. Right. I could either throw it in the garbage, which I'm like, that's kind of, or I could take it to a thrift store, a second hand store, these clothes get a second chance. Right. And they're usually undervalued, right? Like they go there and people go there and they, I bought a cool shirt and it was a dollar, a hundred dollar shirt that, sold on the rack some award a week. They dropped it off at the thrift store. Now it's selling for a dollar. How does that line up for guys who, that you've seen in your coaching? Like they screwed up, they messed up that no longer fits. They, they had an issue. They get put into a bag and they get either thrown in the trash or at a thrift store. 


 Mike
 Oh, I love this analogy. You know, it's interesting. I first understand that we all kind of come to the table and think we have some unique problem you don't. 


 Josh
 Know. 


 Mike
 And so why is that important? Because we all have challenges. We all have wounding. There is a value to our life. Sometimes we, more times than not undervalue it, but there are no unique problems and challenges. You just think there are, because you're kind of hiding in the shadows . The reality is there's somebody there's somebody around you. That's gone through it. That's the beauty of, hiring a coach or having a mentor is that you could have somebody to talk through that with. It's what I always encourage guys, look, you're not alone. You're not alone unless you want to be. I don't encourage that ever, find a men's small group, start at your church. There's a lot of great groups outside the church. You know what? They ended the program. We'll give you an opportunity. I'm sure. I'll give you my email address and you can contact me and we'll find a group in your area. 


 Mike
 Don't go it alone. Yeah. I always subscribed to the military kind of line, no man left behind. If you're going in alone, that's a choice that you made, but there's a value to your life. I don't subscribe to theory that we're not worthy. Sometimes that's, it gets thrown around in the faith world and God tells us we are worthy. So if you look at the kind of taking close to good one, well, okay. That may show up again, by the way. I'm bright. Give a little shout out. Yeah. Credit check. Gosh, it's yours, man. But it, but it's a really important analogy because I, our life does have meaning we are worthy and you can be more and God wants that for you and you want, need to want it as bad as God wants it. So, you know that a hundred dollars sweater that you took to Goodwill and they sold for 10 bucks, Hey, it's worth way more than a hundred. 


 Mike
 You need to stay focused on that it, value that you have on your life. You can be more, you don't have to live, in the past. That's part of the comeback and listen, I will tell you I've lived it. So I get it. In fact, can I tell you my, can tell you how this really came about? Yeah, we'll come. Yeah. So we were living in South Carolina. My wife was a senior executive in a company and I'd been in sales for really a number of years. I remember sitting, I kept telling my children, Hey, listen, you need to, school's important. I mean, they were young at that point, man, I'm talking, we talked with them about the importance of school from a very early age, talking to three, four years old, we could communicate with each other. Yeah. I remember telling them, the, that it's important to go to school and get a good education and pay attention. 


 Mike
 What I realized was that I was to some degree being of a hypocrite because I'd gone to college. I didn't complete college and I didn't enjoy what I was doing at all. There was no passion behind it. I was just floating along in life. So, I had a very long discussion with my wife and she said, I'll tell you what we're doing. Okay. Why don't you be a stay at home dad and figure out what you want to do with your life. And so I did that. I worked with the career coach and ultimately ended up going back to school, getting my master's degree and ultimately getting my undergraduate and ultimately getting my master's degree. But, I struggled during that timeframe. I liked staying home with the kids, but in the back of my mind, right. Because we're kind of raised this way as men, sometimes that I needed to be the breadwinner I needed to be, the guy that supported my family. 


 Mike
 And, and so I wasn't always present during that time. I don't know that I was always the best father, because I was trying to do things even while I was at home with the kids where I was trying to position myself to achieve more in my life. You know? I can't put that time, back in fact what happened was I became so embarrassed by my situation that people would ask me, what I did, because there was this expectation. I felt like there was this expectation of, well, you look a certain way, you talk a certain way, you must be CEO of a company. So, I would either make up things or, just curl up like a little, into a little ball altogether, just embarrassed by the fact that I was a stay-at-home dad and I'm really not achieving professionally. That went on for quite a while actually. 


 Mike
 I internalize that and it became a very deep wound for me. Because I was just embarrassed because I felt like I hadn't achieved for certain period of time. It really took in all honesty, me getting involved with some other Christian men and men's small group and developing those relationships and having that trust factor where I was hearing them tell, stories about themselves when I realized, I'm actually not all that different. I want, I went to work on myself and what's the end result here today? Well, I'm on your podcast. I have the true man podcast. I'm a men's life coach. So, was it worth going through all that to come out the other side? Well, I wouldn't want to do it again, but no, it, the end result is it's worth it because, carrying the burden and the weight around of not feeling, I'm going to bring this up worthy or not feeling significant as a man that weighed me down worse, then doing the work to come out of it. 


 Josh
 Oh yeah. So I cashed out my government pension. I built some, I built quite a few things in my life and I did some government work and such like that, but I cashed out government pension to build a fitness technology company and it just failed miserably. Right. I thought I was going to be a billionaire. People were like, man, you're awesome. Go, Josh, go. I was like, what are you doing? I'm building a fit tech company. And they're like, well, it's cool. And then I lost all my money. We have a baby on the way, wife pregnant with our first kid, she's doing some graphic design. The day she gets out of the hot, like I'm trying, I'm going door to door is trying to sell my fitness program, creating videos. The day we bring our baby home, my wife's in the room working on a computer and I can't get a job. 


 Josh
 I can't get my program sold. I can't make money. I felt absolutely worthless. My wife is the day she brings a baby home breastfeeding and doing graphic design work, making money. She's the only one producing. I felt absolutely s**t ass worthless. Right. I w it wasn't because I wasn't trying it wasn't that I was, but I felt worthless. I felt like I wasn't producing. I was called to be the provider. Right. All this crap, these expectations. What I wanted to do is hide, crawl under a rock or blow my brains out. Right. Cause I was embarrassed people, like, what do you mean? I'm like, I have no f*****g clue. Right? 


 Mike
 Yeah. I've been there. 


 Josh
 I look back and I can laugh at him. Like, man, I was so lost, but I was curl. I wanted to curl up and like, we would show up at church and people would be asking questions like, Hey, you want to go out to lunch and I can't afford it. Hey, do you want to do this? I can't, what are you doing with yourself? I don't know. I'm trying to build a business. W what's it look like I have no clue. Right. I just felt like I felt absolutely worthless and alone in the loss, but I wanted to curl up and not talk about it until I, I started writing a book about me on the other side. Right. Pretending that I was on the other side, writing it. I was like, this is so dis authentic. I think a lot of gurus write this book about how I fixed myself or came out on the other side. 


 Josh
 But dude, I was scared. I was scared. I was embarrassed. I wanted to curl up in a ball. How, how did you work through that in your life? 


 Mike
 Wow. It's interesting during that timeframe that I was telling you about, I was really heavily involved in my church and volunteering in nonprofits. One of the things that happened was I was heavily involved in church and I distinctly recall a Sunday just sitting there, staring at the gym wall while the pastor was giving his sermon, staring at the water stains, going, there's another problem that we need to fix. I remember thinking to myself, wow, I'm not hearing anything that's going on here. And I'm not being fed. Right. I'm like performance driven, Christian, all of a sudden, like if I perform, God will show up. And that wasn't happening. I remember going to the pastor and I'm like, man, I think I need to take a break. Like I think we're done here. And cause I I'm not feeling it. He's like, okay, cool. Take a break. 


 Mike
 I think that was about eight years ago. Now granted we've moved during that timeframe. What happened during that break was I set out to do some other stuff. I met somebody networking and we started this men's small group and the work started to happen in that small group because were having intimate conversations, how to better men, how to better dads, how, just how to live a life a more and trust that God's got control, not me. Cause that's what I wanted was to control everything. In trying to control everything was out of control. Totally. It was just completely out of control and dysfunctional. What so really by going to men's small group and spending a lot of time asking really deep questions, and doing a lot of hard work is really what caused it to change and really that understanding that piece and understanding that. 


 Mike
 Honestly, I went to a, I never, I'm not a big retreat guy. I didn't know. I went to a men's retreat with an organization while part of, with almost 400 men. This was in 2019. It was a pre COVID experience, went to this retreat with about almost 400 men. And it absolutely transformed my life. What happened there was, there was a song, it was on a Saturday morning. It started on Thursday night by Saturday morning, man. I was in pieces, a song by Josh Groban. They played and the guy came out and he said, I'm going to play three songs this morning. I want you to think of these songs as God's singing them to you. It was a Josh Groban song I'd never heard before you are loved. And they played that song. And I literally almost hit floor why? I had no idea that God loved me that much, that intimate relationship was available. 


 Mike
 That's really the weekend where things began to shift for me is I began to realize that I didn't need to be in control that a special intimate relationship was available to me. That I could be, will be, a beloved son to a God who wanted that kind of relationship. And that's where things began to shift. Honestly, I've told people I'm still, I just got back two weeks ago from another retreat. Cause we can do that. Now we can do that. Now. I'm still unpacking some of the stuff that happened from that weekend. Again, circle back to what I said earlier, you're a work in progress. If, if you're the type of person who's living a life right now, and you're just questioning everything like, is there more to life than this? You it's about doing some deep introspective because the answer is yeah, there probably is more to life than the way you're living it. 


 Mike
 It just requires asking, taking a hard look in the mirror and asking hard and difficult questions. And, and that's what I did. And listen, I'm not unique. It's available to anybody who wants to make a decision to move forward in their life and, clean up a few things and push forward. It's available. Yeah. It's beautiful. 


 Josh
 Stay home dab started working on your masters, started working on you, right? You, you were sales guy prior to that, your wife successful you guys were okay financially. It gave you the flexibility ability to do that. Spend some time with the family. You felt in that time you felt worthless and you felt challenged like your identity was being challenged and you were embarrassed about the situation. 


 Mike
 As men, as you probably know, typically when you meet somebody, they're going to ask typically two questions, what's your name? And what do you do? What. 


 Josh
 The hell do you. 


 Mike
 Do? Yeah. So, as men, we don't question, it's not meant to cause any harm, right. It's really not. It is, it it's, it's a greeting, we've all done it without thinking, but for somebody who's hurting inside and they identify with what they do is what a lot of men do. Yeah, Man, that can be a traumatic question. And it was for me. I'm very careful about how I use that question now as a result. I think what I would say about that is men, what you does not, that's not your identity. Yeah. You may need, if it is for we may have to do some more work around that, but, 


 Josh
 If all the failures I had, right. I've been on the guy who has had a lot of failures. And that question bothered me the most. 


 Mike
 Oh man. Yes. 


 Josh
 I'm a master of the posturing. I'm the master of putting on a mask. Yeah. People like I was going through bankruptcy and I still had people reaching out to me on LinkedIn going, Hey, will you fund my startup? Hey, we need some money. Could you advise us, can you coach us? Can you work on that? This was a few years back in and man, I was so good at that. Like in the middle of pain, in the middle of massive failure, still people thought I was some big s**t. And I wasn't. I was trying to be honest, I was like, just sharing this and I'm learning to become more transparent. If someone still likes me after that, then we're friends. The question, who are you, what do you do? Right. What do you, what do you do? What they're asking, how big is your penis? 


 Josh
 How big is your bank account? Like, are you a big baller? Are are you a CEO of this company or that company? And they're measuring you up. That's what I heard. I felt unworthy and I didn't measure up prior to this. Like prior to me really learning about who God made me to be. Any time I heard that, what do you do? It bothered me greatly because I didn't stack up. So I would just lie. I'd be like, I'd mess with them. 


 Mike
 Oh. 


 Josh
 Yeah. I'm a dancer. I'm a ballroom dancer. I'm a tabletop dancer. I'm a stripper. I'm a whatever. I would just say something just to throw them off because it bothered me. And I, 


 Mike
 I did the same thing. We would have worked really well together. What. 


 Josh
 Was your go-to if someone's like, Hey man, 


 Mike
 Do you know? That's a good question. I don't even really recall. I'm kind off the cuff a lot. I kind of grew up in a world of, I commonly say Chevy. I commonly grew up in a world of the Chevy chase, airplane comedy. So I'm a slapstick guy. So, I have no problem saying something smart because what I found was that if you can make people laugh, then they would, the question got deflected and you'd move on to something else. The whole point was to get through that first 20 seconds of we're going to talk about, what I do, and I sure as hell didn't ask anybody what they did, because if I did, then they had to come back and ask me what I did. So, I was just kind of the master deflector and just moving on to, other things, talking about the weather or whatever, 


 Josh
 What there's guys out there just like you and I, who are driven, we want to have purpose. We want to build something. We want to help others. We want to give, we want to figure our s**t out. We want to figure our own stuff out and help others. Right? Like, we're on that where we're decent dudes. Right. We're just hurting because we haven't figured out our path yet. When someone asked us, what do you do? Like they might be just trying to get to know you, or that's just a go-to question that you ask at a networking event, but to a guy who's trying to figure themselves out. It is so scary to be asked that question or to be asked, like, those kinds of things, because we're hurting. Right. Do you experience that? 


 Mike
 Well, I have experienced that, but I could tell you, and I, I laugh a lot because I'm not a huge fan of the term life coach, but it makes some degree of sense. I, I had to get okay with that, and then I planted the flag for men and which was easy for me to do because I was exposed to men's groups. And, and what I saw was that men needed somebody to come walk along side them. Interestingly enough, listen, I've had people say, well, what do you do? I'll say, I'm a men's life coach. Honestly, I've had some people laugh at me like, whoa, what is that? What you do? What, you know? Here's the difference between now and then it, I mean, fine. It, it, it's funny to you. I mean, do you have any idea how hurting a lot of men are? 


 Mike
 And, I, by the way, I never say that. I never say that I had a woman that laughed at me and I thought, well, what kind of husband do you want? Yeah. I mean, for you to laugh at me and, because here's the thing, women are exceptionally good about being in community and they have no problem. They'll call us, they'll call a life coach tomorrow. If they feel like they need it guys. I mean, we'll kind of run around for a bit. Man, we gotta be, our limb has to be hanging off our side before we'll reach for help. And, and what I tell people is this is God's honest truth. I always know that for the average dude, we're probably going to have to do a little work on some past stuff and that's fine. I get it. We all have that, but I like to think that I take great guys and make them better. 


 Mike
 Yeah. And some of that is just awareness. Like if you're aware of areas in your life where you do want to shrivel up like a ball or areas of your life that you want to approve, so you can be a more present dad and, husband and that type of thing, then, Hey, let's do some work on that. And you know, here's the thing. I'm seeing this by the tons right now. COVID . Albeit a horrible thing like it or not, we all had of discretionary time to think about things. I mean, the pace of life slowed down . Now it was traumatic in that we're unfortunately all flipping on our televisions and we don't know who to believe about what, and we still don't know who to believe about what and that in and of itself, causes a little trauma and conflict. The pace of life slowed, if not for a few weeks, it gave people enough time to pause. 


 Mike
 So, you see what's going on with the great resonation and I know people want to make it, a money thing. Listen, if you're happy where you're at, it may be a money thing. For most people, it's not necessarily a money thing. I would take less money to work someplace where I was treated like a gang, ? What this tells me, and I don't need to dive into research to figure it out is that people are looking for more in their life and they're not sure how to get it. They don't, maybe they've paused, but they haven't fully figured it out. They're chasing the dream and listen, just because someplace offers you 50,000 and more a year, that may sound really good for your pocket book. That doesn't mean hella beans. Yeah. If it doesn't fit who you are and the direction that you want to go in life, and that's just the bottom line and the only way you're going to know what that looks like is if you go on the discovery to do the work, to figure that out. 


 Mike
 This great resonation to me is a lot about people hunting for their true selves. I'm not saying I can help people find all the answers, but I am saying, I think it's a good time if you're hunting, to go on a journey with somebody and try to figure out what that looks like. So, because people, I see so much activity online right now around jobs, I'm looking for a job, I'm trying to figure out my next career and all this stuff. Here's the thing. And I've been through this. I know I come from, I speak truth, man, if you don't like what you do the work on yourself before you figure out what your career is. 


 Josh
 Totally. 


 Mike
 Because you can get a job doing anything that, that and be miserable and be miserable, 


 Josh
 The miserable, 


 Mike
 Miserable, life's too short. That's the other piece of COVID we found out life's too short. People get taken from us, at a very young age sometimes. Yeah. Sometimes it, life is just too short to be miserable. That's part of my goal is to work with men because I know that if I work with a man and I'm able to help them and affect their life, That it transfers to their family, they're going to better for their children. They're going to better for their spouse. They're going to better for the people they work with. There's a trickle down effect with that. It's not one-on-one for me. I mean, that's who I work with. That's the impact is far greater than that. When somebody, decides to do the work and change their life and that's powerful stuff, and I love it. It keeps me going. 


 Josh
 Yeah, dude, I can tell you're passionate about it. All right. I've got two decks of cards. They have questions on it. Right? Bottom online, kind of throw some random s**t into it. Left-hand is a black deck. The other hand is like a bunch of different colors, which, which deck do you want a question from? 


 Mike
 Let's go from the right. 


 Josh
 That, the color one. 


 Mike
 The color one. Yeah, 


 Josh
 Here we go. I'm going to grab a stack. You tell me when to stop. 


 Mike
 So what scares me? It. 


 Josh
 Should be, it should be really scary. I'm scared. All right. As a man, what has been your worst financial decision you've ever made? 


 Mike
 Is that really? 


 Josh
 I just stuck it back in here. Yeah, yeah, 


 Mike
 Yeah. Is that home? 


 Josh
 I can say as a man, but it said, what's your, I have two questions. One was like, do you believe in psychics? I'm like, that's a b******t question. I'm going to go, like one of it was like, what is your worst financial decision? Yeah. What was the worst financial decision you ever made? 


 Mike
 Wow. 


 Josh
 You share yours. I'll share mine. 


 Mike
 Wow. That that's a really good buy. What can I I'll tell you an interesting story that happened to me. It was financial. Yeah. It was This will tell you how I've kind of changed my thinking. 


 Josh
 Yeah. 


 Mike
 I had Infiniti QX, 80 SUV. I love that SUV. It's a big honkin car. I got it. When I bought it was a year-end deal. I got a pretty good deal, but still it's a 70, some odd thousand dollars vehicle. Okay. Yeah. I bought it because my ego said we need an, a big SUV seriously. That's why I bought it. I wanted a big SUV. Okay. COVID hits. COVID hits. I mean, we're in like maybe week three and I'm sitting in my office and I think to myself, what are you doing with that big Ash? I mean, it comes from me clearly. Like, what are you doing with that big SUV? I'm like, I have no idea what I crappy financial position myself in the house. You can't even use the SUV. The God's honest truth is I, I look up online historically we buy new vehicles probably about every three years. 


 Mike
 Now my, I have two kids that are driving now, so I have four cars. So it's a little bit different ballgame. Yeah. I go out online, I look up a dealership and I find a used Toyota Camry with less than 7,000 miles on it. I think, well, I've had a series of Toyota products. They're awesome. I go up to the dealership and what's funny is to think back on this people, they have no idea what's going on, right. That the car dealership. Cause they're kind of there nobody's fully shut down. They're trying to figure out what do we do as a car dealership during COVID right. Yeah. They didn't give me as much for the SUV as I wanted, but I walked in there. I drove the Camry around the block and I said, I'll take it. Guy goes, that's it. You know, negotiated price a little bit. 


 Mike
 I'm like, I'll take it. And they wrote me a check. Right? Cause there were still a lot of value left on the SUV. I walked out of there and I drove that car, I guess, fuller a little over a year. Now it's my daughter's car, which was part of the plan. Little did I know that a couple of months later, this is kind of part of our story too, that my wife would walk in the front door and say my position has been eliminated, which was essentially as a result of COVID. I look at that and I think I, to this day, I'm not a hundred percent certain. Why made a decision to dump that SUV? Other than I felt like at this point that God was talking to me, going unload a stupid financial decision that you made because you didn't need something that expensive or big and just unload it. 


 Mike
 Something else is coming down the road. What it causes us to do is look at every bill that we had. We went through a series, like, why are we paying this for cable? Why don't we do it? You know this. Went through and we just started cutting because when times are good, you do stupid things. I tell that story to say this. I mean, is that the worst financial decision I've ever made? No, but if you take the time to pause and really look at your life, which is ultimately what we did. Honestly, outside of that SUV, I think we found if I remember right, five or $600 cost savings a month by looking at some Imbar bills. 


 Josh
 Totally. Yeah. 


 Mike
 This is just, Hey, this is Sage it's coming from a Sage. I, that was a Sage moment for me. I'm very, I got to tell you, I'm pretty proud of it. In the big scheme of things, that's kind of a money-wise minor. What that said to me is like, you've moved on to a different realm by doing the work. There's a story for you for, for you all and heed the advice. 


 Josh
 Yeah, no, I love this because that was the worst financial decision you ever made. Anytime us guys invest in our ego, 


 Mike
 I guess. 


 Josh
 Whatever the case may be, ego is the absolute worst financial decision. Because as soon as you get the bit and I've experienced this and I've seen it, I've interviewed thousands of people. As soon as you buy the biggest baddest biggest house, biggest car fastest, this that's that expensive watch, whatever, as soon as you start investing the ego, as soon as you get that thing that you've invested so much on, you're onto the next thing. You just start stacking bills on ego. Yeah. You go as the worst investment. I agree with you. I agree with you. I did that. I had done that many times through technology companies that I built or invested in through bad deals through all like through knowing that I know more than the smart, rich guy in front of me and not taking his advice going bankrupt after that. Right. Like ego is the worst. 


 Mike
 Now listen to this. Now again, I got two teenagers driving cars. Yeah. The first thing that I did after we bought our house, we're now we had to relocate we're outside the Atlanta area. I had to go get a new car because we needed one. We needed a Ford car. It's just kind of where we're at in life. Yeah. I bought a beautiful, sleek black Honda pilot. Here's the deal. It cost me about 30 grand, less. Okay. Substantially less. And, and I got a high quality SUV and I don't see myself going back to the other side, as it turns out, Mike, hear me now, listen to me later, I can have a really nice car without spending a small fortune. What I don't need to keep up with the Jones is the guy down the Street's got eight cars. I don't care really nice for already, by the way. 


 Josh
 Yeah. So I, yeah, so many funny stories about like the smoke and mirrors and like I've worked with private equity groups and venture capital groups and ultra wealthy investment investors and come to find out they were broke. They had Lambros in the front yard, but there, they were stacked up to the top of the bills. It's all a facade. Right. Keeping up with the Joneses. The Joneses are trying to keep up with the Joneses. 


 Mike
 Yeah. Right, right. Listen. Aye. Aye. Aye. Aye. I'll tell you, I worry about this as a culture because I'm part of a generation that, I'm 52 now we kind of spread our wings. We fought 52. Yeah. Okay. We bought, we bought big things. We bought big houses. We, just because it was available. Right. What does your retirement account look like? Wow. I mean, how many, okay, listen, I'm not a financial advisor. Although I've had a securities license and I worked very, in fact, I've got a call in with my financial services guy. Who's outstanding. By the way, many people are not going to be able to retire because they have an multiple $80,000 vehicle sitting in their driveway and a house that they can barely afford to furnish and circle back to the beginning of our conversation as a result of doing that, you have stuff going on in your basement And I'm talking about yourself and there's something swirling around in there and just dump it. 


 Mike
 You can have a great Ford F-150 by the way, for much less, probably get to use one for, but I, the point is that you got to take care of yourself and you got to look at the whole picture, that satisfaction that you're feeling today gonna cause you to feel like s**t tomorrow, if you don't take care of stuff. 


 Josh
 Totally. 


 Mike
 I wish I didn't have to be so blunt on that, 


 Josh
 I liked it. I liked the blunt. Yeah. I'm not hating on the, this, the fancy stuff, this and that. I don't care. I don't. 


 Mike
 Know. I'm not. 


 Josh
 Makes people happy. I don't care. Right. If that's what it takes for you to feel awesome. Go for it. I don't care. I don't care for me personally, when do those decisions? It is based on my ego. So I just speak for me. My ego is my worst investment ever. Anytime I invest in my ego, it costs me a lot of money and then a lot of fights. I wind up sleeping on the couch and I don't like that. I like, 


 Mike
 Yeah. I mean, come at me with a nice new shiny golf club. Okay. It's hard to say no. All right yeah. Just telling you Don't come at me with new golf clubs. 


 Josh
 About me, bro. Mike, give a shout out to your podcasts and a way for dudes to connect with you and ask for some help if they need it. 


 Mike
 Yeah. The podcast is the true man podcast and we really put it together to help dads or help men be better. Men, dads and husbands. You can find me on every, major channel that's out there, but you can look us up on true man podcast.com. That'll take you to my website and, come give us a listen and reach out to me@mikeatstartyourcomebackstory.com. That's my email address. Look me up and you can start your comeback story. Heck if you're not into looking up and you're just like, I need to call this dude right away, call me (864) 266-2058. I'd love to hear from you and cause I'm all about helping men better men and live that life of more and have a life of fullness and satisfaction. It is available. Believe me, 


 Josh
 Super cool. What questions should I have asked you in this interview that I screwed up and didn't ask you? 


 Mike
 Well, I think you did a great job. I've had a blast being on here. It's always fun to be on the other side. Yeah, 


 Josh
 It. 


 Mike
 Is. 


 Josh
 Well fellow podcaster, Mike, I appreciate you coming on the show today, dudes as always, man. If, if our guests are saying something that resonates with you, man, reach out and connect with them, ask for help, raise your hand, say, Hey, my courage on the show need help. Mike. Anything else? Last thoughts, last questions. Anything else that pops to your brain? 


 Mike
 The only thing I'll say is this. We all want to live a full and happy life. I, I firmly believe that. As a man, sometimes we don't reach out for help. That's just silly. That's just silly. You don't need to be embarrassed. You don't need to. This is not, like some of us were raised, playing baseball, you get hit by a ball, just rub it out. It's a, never say out, okay, that MythBuster here that's that there's a lot more going on. Man, I'm just here to walk alongside you and help you figure that out. And I'm passionate about it. I want to see people happy and successful and men being good men. That's what it's all about for me. So that's how I would end it. 


 Josh
 All right guys, as always reach out to our guests, they thank you. If you need some help, you can always head on over to uncensored advice for men.com. There's a little mic in the bottom right hand corner. You could leave me a voicemail. You could send me a message saying, Hey, would you introduce me to one of your guests? Happy to do that. If you need help, just reach out. We'll we'll plug in with one of our friends. Maybe someone who could help you. We're not in this alone. We're in this together. No man left behind us. Mike said, Mike, thanks for coming on the show. Dudes love you to talk to you all on the next episode. Peace. Let me figure out how to turn this thing off. All right. See you guys. 

Mike Van Pelt Profile Photo

Mike Van Pelt

Men's Life Coach

My name is Mike Van Pelt, and I am known as the Comeback Coach. My experience and passion for coaching, guiding, and mentoring men has come from my involvement in leading Christian men’s groups along with my own journey to take my life back and achieve success. In addition, I have served in leadership roles for most of my career, bringing over two decades of deep organizational expertise in account management, consulting, and leadership development.

More importantly, I’m a man who has tried to go at it alone, failed to answer those deep-seated questions, and wondered what God had for me next. I found that I’m happier, more successful, and more focused when I’m not on a solo journey and I have tools to help me get to my destination.

My purpose is to help serve men that have misinterpreted the direction of their lives. I believe men want success and satisfaction in every area of their lives, and they are looking for a roadmap of discovery back to their hearts and minds. My goal is to be an instrument of guidance and healing and to lift the heavy heart loads that many men carry. With our coaching programs proven techniques, I will give you new ways to do more with your talents, your knowledge, and your life. Call us today for a free strategy!

In addition to being a coach, I am happily married to Jill, my wife and best friend of 25 years. We have two talented teenagers. When I’m not coaching, I’m probably enjoying time at one of their many activities or getting a quick round of golf in with friends.

I look forward to helping you figure out the answers to your life’s questions and discovering your extraordinary life.